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Macedonians ‘Hug’ Skopje Shopping Centre to Protect It From Baroque-isation

People holding hands, forming a human chain to "warm up" the GTC - public trade center in Skopje, Macedonia. Photo by Vanco Dzambaski, CC BY-NC-SA

People holding hands, forming a human chain to “warm up” the GTC – public trade center in Skopje, Macedonia. Photo by Vanco Dzambaski, CC BY-NC-SA

Macedonian citizens braved snow and ice on the evening of December 29, 2014, to protest the government's plan to cover the modernist landmark City Shopping Center, built in 1973 and known by the Macedonian acronym GTC, with a “baroque” facade. Activists, artists, and architects lead the “I love GTC” (FB, TW, #ГоСакамГТЦ) initiative, which for the second time organized a mass “hugging” of the complex.

The protest was part of a series of events starting in 2013 that have attempted to stall this aspect of the creeping Skopje 2014 project, a controversial and costly plan to give the city's buildings makeover in the neoclassical or baroque style. GTC is open, “public” space, owned by the government (97% of shares).

Photo-activist Vancho Dzhambaski documented the event, and wrote:

И покрај со снег затрупаните улици и непријатното време, граѓаните на Скопје повторно се собраа во голем број, овој пат да го стоплат саканиот ГТЦ.

Повеќе од 2000 луѓе на уште еден начин се обидоа да пратат порака на арогантната власт дека не можеш да залепиш шпански скали и барокни кулиси каде што ќе ти текне. Едноставно, не е секоја идеа за плагијат добиена на прошетките во странство туку така применлива. Дури ни во град кој веќе изгледа како Дизниленд.

In spite of the streets piled with snow and the unpleasant weather, the citizens of Skopje gathered again in large numbers, this time to warm up their beloved GTC.

More than 2,000 people attempted to send another message to the arrogant authorities that you cannot glue Spanish Steps and baroque scenery wherever you please. Simply, not every idea for plagiarism gained during visits abroad is applicable here. Even in a city that already looks like Disneyland.

Independent news portal A1on estimated the number to more than a thousand, and published a much-shared video of the creative protest.

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